Ayrault, Peter

, in Latin Ærodius, lieutenant-criminal in the presidial of Angers, was born there in 1536. He studied Latin and philosophy at Paris, and law at Toulouse from thence he went to Bourges for the advantage of the public lectures of Duarenus, Cujas, and Doneau, three of the most excellent civilians of that age. Having taken the degree of bachelor at Bourges, he returned to his own country, where he read public lectures upon the civil law, and pleaded several causes. He returned to Paris some time after, and became one of the most famous advocates in the parliament. He published there, in 1563, “The Declamations of Quintilian,” which he corrected in a variety of places, and illustrated with notes. The year following he published, in the same city, a treatise “ | coneerning the power of Redemption,” written by Francis Grimaudet, the king’s advocate at Angers, and wrote a preface to it concerning “the nature, variety, and change of Laws.” In 1567 he published “Decretorum Rerumve apud diversos populos et omni antiquitate judicatarum libri duo accedit tractatus de origine et auctoritate rerum judicatarum,” which he much enlarged in the subsequent editions. He left Paris the year following, in order to take upon him the office of lieutenant-criminal in his own country, and performed it in such a manner as to acquire the name of “the rock of the accused.” Some other writings came from his pen, political or controversial, but that which acquired most fame among foreigners was his treatise “De Patrio Jure,” on the power of fathers, written in French and Latin, and occasioned by his son having been seduced by the Jesuits. His father, for the purposes of education, had put him under their tuition, but perceiving that he had a lively genius, a strong memory, and other excellent qualifications, he very earnestly desired both the provincial of that order, and the rector of the college, not to solicit him to enter into their society, which they readily promised, but soon broke their word and, though he made the greatest interest, and even prevailed on the king of France and the pope to take his part, he could never recover him from their snares. The young man answered his father’s book, but his superiors were ashamed to publish it, and employed Richeome, the provincial of the Jesuits at Paris, to answer it, but even this they did not venture to publish. Peter Ayrault died July 21, 1601. His son not until 1644. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri, in Airault.